An original line engraving of “ISABELLA ESTENSIS…” after a portrait by Titian, engraved by P. P. Rubens (b. 1577, d. 1640), published c. 1600 – while in the service of the Duke of Mantua.
Isabella Estensis was the daughter of Ercole I (1471-1505). Ercole’s crucial problem became one of consolidating his own political position by means of marriages that would bind him to the principal Italian powers: of his three daughters, Lucrezia was married to Annibale Bentivoglio (of Bologna), Isabella to Francesco Gonzaga (of Mantua), and Beatrice to Ludovico Sforza (of Milan). Ercole's eldest son, Alfonso, was married first to Anna Sforza (of Milan) and then to the famous Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI.
In spite of these difficult affairs of state, Ercole was able to continue his dynasty's patronage of the arts, taking the poet Matteo Boiardo as his minister, extending his favor to the poet Ludovico Ariosto, espousing the theatre and musical arts, and enlarging and beautifying Ferrara to such an extent as to make it one of the first cities of Europe.
Plate size is approximately 16 5/8 x 12 5/8 inches.